The Stanislavsky Method Essay

This essay has a total of 1253 words and 6 pages.

The Stanislavsky Method


When I came off of the stage that first night, I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of
my life. I was ecstatic, on a natural high. Suddenly, I had found my place in the world.
As I have gotten older and more experienced, I have learned that acting is not just

reciting lines in front of an audience. There is a technique to acting. It is known as the
"method", "method acting", or the "Stanislavsky method".

The method was created by Konstantin Stanislavsky, a Russian actor, director,producer and
founder of the Moscow Art Theatre which opened in 1898. Stanislavsky had many shortcomings
as an actor and worked obsessively to improve his voice, diction and body movement. As a
director and producer, Stanislavsky believed that the mere

external behavior of an actor was not sufficient to portray the unique inner world of a
character. He felt that once an actor felt what the character was feeling, the emotion
would then manifest itself physically, making the performance believable. This idea was

the basis for the method that Stanislavsky created, now the most common acting style in Western theatre.
Stanislavsky's method begins with relaxation. He called in an "occupational disease." One
of Stanislavsky's most famous students, Lee Strasberg, believed it to be the actor's worst
enemy. The exercise Stanislavsky developed for relaxation is meant to

help the actor find hidden tension in all muscles of the body, most importantly the face,
where most mental tension manifests itself. The exercise begins with the actor sitting in
a straight backed, armless chair. First, the actor must find the position that he or she

would be most likely to sleep in, if absolutely necessary. Then, starting with the fingers
and working all the muscles in sequence, finding the tension hiding in each muscle, and
will the muscle to relax. The first time I performed this exercise was in Beginning

Drama, my freshman year. My instructor, Mrs. Daniels, had each student find a space on the
floor and lay down on their back. From there Ms. Daniels went through each of our muscles
telling us to relax each one as we went through them. This exercise helps the

actor find where they, personally, hold their tension. Once an actor knows where they hold
their tension, they can begin to release it, letting as little of themselves show through
the character they are portraying.

The next exercise in the method is called Sense Memory. It is basically each of the five
senses remembering the sensory impressions experienced in everyday life. The sense memory
exercise trains an actor's senses to react onstage as they do in real life. By

pulling events from an actor's past, the actor then feels the corresponding emotion. The
actor begins the exercise by of getting a mug of coffee, or anything for that matter, and
setting in front of them. First, the actor explores the mug and the coffee inside the mug
with their sense of sight. The actor asks himself as many questions as he can think
of,relating to the sight of the mug. Once the actor has exhausted every question he can
think of for sight, he then moves to another sense, such as touch. The exercise continues

this way until the actor has asked every question that he can think of, for each of the
five senses. Once the coffee cup has been taken a way, the actor should then be able to
recreate it from memory. As time goes on, the actor should be able to recreate the cup
within a matter of five to fifteen seconds. Once able to do that, the actor moves on to
bringing up past events and actions from his own life.

One of the major keys to acting, and making each of the exercises work is concentration.
The actor needs to be able to concentrate on an object. An object is not just a physical
object, it can be anything on which the actor chooses to concentrate. An

object can be an idea, a person, a dream or anything else that the actor wishes.
Ideally,the object is somehow related to the play, but that does not always have to be the
case. For example, if two actors are having difficulty with a scene, a director might give
each

one something different to concentrate on. The director then gives Actor A a
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